Pad thai is not merely a staple of Thai cuisine; it’s also the best measure of a Thai restaurant’s excellence. The quality of ingredients may differ from place to place, but there’s no greater variable than the sauce, that delicate balance of tamarind, fish sauce, chilis and sugar. Here, the city’s top five plates of pad thai.
Yes, it’s in a nondescript downtown food court, but Bangkok may well be Montreal’s top Thai restaurant. Try the massive seafood pad thai, complete with shrimp, mussels, scallops and squid. $9.95. 1616 St. Catherine St. W. 514-935-2178.
Nantha’s Cash and Curry
With a signature savoury sauce that retains hints of sweetness, Nantha Kumar’s tofu and egg pad thai (one of three varieties here) is the best vegetarian option in town. $12. 68 Duluth St. E., 514-284-5696.
Subtle sauce and soft morsels of duck and tofu fold into silky noodles and crunchy peanuts at this upscale Outremont restaurant. Chao Praya also boasts a well-stocked wine cellar. $14. 50 Laurier St. W. 514-272-5339.
Chicken, shrimp and deep-fried tofu dons the slightly sweet pad thai at this NDG spot. The décor verges on kitsch, with bamboo, fake greenery and Buddha keeping a stone eye on the clientele. $11.23. 5645 Monkland Ave., 514-223-4552.
Choose between the elegant gold-and-wood dining room or the exotic cushioned salon floor. The standard pad thai comes with shrimp or chicken, and a singular sweet and tart sauce. $11.50. 88 Bernard St. W., 514-271-6733.